The argument about whether HTML 5 is going to make Flash redundant has taken centre stage. Two recent announcements have triggered this.
Apple is going with HTML 5 for their iPad and not supporting Flash.
Google experimenting with HTML 5 for displaying their YouTube videos.
What is the fuss all about?
What this implies is that over time HTML 5 will have a bigger role to play in areas where Flash is now the dominant medium. These are Videos, Advertisements and Games on Smartphones and Computers.
One objective of HTML 5 is to reduce the need for plug-in-based multimedia platforms like Flash. Media options can now be directly embedded into the browser saving developers precious time. However, the path for it to completely replace Flash is long and not that straightforward.
Flash is still the best tool available for animation and web based gaming on Personal Computers. HTML 5 still has a long way to go in this area. But where Smartphones such as the iPhone or the Android series are concerned, the companies backing them are strongly HTML 5 focused.
How does this affect current websites?
If your market is only PC users and not the Smartphone users, then it does not affect you. If you are using Flash elements in your websites, there is no need to worry. But keep all options open and watch closely how this development plays out over the long term.
If you are heavily targeting the Smartphone users, this is a significant development. The main players in the Smartphone area are Apple and Google. Both are strong supporters of HTML 5 and it is best to be proficient in using HTML 5 elements where possible instead of Flash.
It is best to take a pragmatic approach and keep both options open. Flash still has certain strengths which cannot be easily replicated by HTML 5 at least in the near future. One of these is a strong development platform and loyal developers.
The Smartphone market is growing rapidly and at some point developing websites for them will be important. In some niches it already is. So, it is best to use the tools, technologies for your website to compete here as well. HTML5 will grow by penetrating this market first.